2023 Agenda

October 10th

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Private Networking Dinner

October 11th

9:20 AM – 9:30 AM

Welcome from The Economist 

A brief history of finance and what these patterns mean for the future. 

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist 

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM

Panel Discussion – The Balance of Power: Banks v Credit Card Companies v Fintechs 

Banks and card networks designed long before the internet have proved remarkably resilient in the face of digital competition in the rich world. However, across emerging economies new and exciting alternatives have arisen. 

What are the latest developments in digital payments–from card networks to trade finance–and how are they shaping the financial landscape? How will a shift to electronic platforms impact global goods trade? Will card networks even have a role in developing economies such as India and Brazil as their existing models bypass card networks? Will this lead to a cardless revolution? 

In this panel we debate where the balance will lie in the global financial landscape. Will traditional Western systems be undercut by new providers that have taken hold across the world, from India’s Unified Payments Interface to Brazil’s instant-payment platforms and the superapps that dominate parts of Asia? What are the opportunities and risks in trade finance?

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

  • Alex Hoffmann, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, PagBrasil
  • Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Products, Partnerships and Digital solutions, CEMEA, Visa
  • Joseph Ghorayeb, Chief Executive, HSBC Bahrain
  • Punit Shah, EMEA Leader, Onyx by JP Morgan
  • Usman Ahmed, Group Chief Executive, National Bank of Bahrain

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

Exclusive Interview – How Crypto can be a Pillar of Finance and the Economy: A Response to Critics 

  • CZ, Founder & CEO, Binance

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM

Panel Discussion – Generative AI: The Future for Financial Advice? 

What opportunities will generative AI tools create for the future of financial advice and investment? Will they provide the average layperson the access to financial advice once reserved for the wealthy? This field is ripe for disruption, but the potential consequences are worrying, from data privacy to security breaches.

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

  • Elemi Atigolo, Founder, Finley AI
  • Ramin Hasani, AI Research Affiliate, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT
  • Mehdi Al Fitchali, Founder and Chief Executive, Finamze

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Networking Break

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

Panel Discussion – Banking on Talent: A Future-Ready Financial Services Workforce

As the financial sector embraces new technologies, the needs of the workforce are also changing. Organisations require more technical, specialised skills. And competition for talent is fierce. What are the new skills needed in financial services, and how may they change over time? How are companies adapting their workforce? What is the best combination of capabilities among team members to be successful? What challenges do companies face when attracting, training and retaining employees—and to close the digital-talent gap?

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

  • Ala’a Alsallal, Chief Executive, Madfooatcom
  • Sumaya Rehman, Founder and Chief Executive, High Street Resource
  • Boutros Klink, Chief Executive, Middle East, Standard Chartered
  • Dima Najib-Costa, Co-head of People Experience MEA, JLL

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Panel Discussion – Spotlight on the Middle East 

The financial industry in the Middle East is operating in a changing world—one it can help shape. Financial-service providers have the opportunity to influence the industry’s future.

The Middle East financial industry will have to compete to attract qualified talent. Investing in
people and improving their skills and work lives requires financial organisations to reimagine the traditional workplace. Huge investment
opportunities, a large consumer base, and ample room for innovation and improvement on legacy systems await hungry fintechs. 

This panel discusses the landscape across the Middle East and the opportunities and challenges for foreign investment and companies looking to put
down roots.

Moderated by Swarup Gupta, Industry Manager, Economist Intelligence Unit

  • H.E Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board
  • Abdulmohsin Al Omran, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Family Office
  • Michel Sawaya, Chief Executive Officer, Citi Bahrain
  • Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, Senior Vice president MENA, checkout.com

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM

Lunch and Networking Opportunities  

2:30 PM – 3:10 PM

Panel Discussion – Interface Play: Crafting the Perfect User Experience 

As lines between fintech companies, tech giants and traditional banks become blurred, financial service providers must keep up with changing technology and provide seamless, user-friendly payment systems. Which interfaces are redefining how we bank and invest? From intuitive mobile apps and AI-driven personalisation, discover how to craft digital solutions for customers. How are financial institutions improving user experience? And how might fintech use augmented reality and virtual reality in the future?

Moderated by Swarup Gupta, Industry Manager, Economist Intelligence Unit

  • Mohammed Al Rashidi, Co-founder and Chief Executive, One Global
  • Virginie Nowak, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Access bank
  • Danah Taqi, Chief Communications Officer, Ottu

3:10 PM – 3:40 PM

Interactive Session

In this interactive session the audience will be presented with two discussion points on the future of finance, business structures and
strategies. The floor will have their chance to discuss, debate and discover what their peers believe.

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

3:40 PM – 4:05 PM

Interview – Will Open Banking bring a Financial Revolution?

Open banking reduces market friction and enables market entrants to compete with existing financial-service providers. Yet how useful may it be to spur consumer-friendly reforms? Substantial change is anticipated when regulators force financial institutions to share information. With the power of data in the hands of new market entrants how will financial service providers need to adapt to remain competitive?

Interviewed by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

  • Tom Greenwood, CEO and Co-Founder, Volt 

4:05 PM – 4:45 PM

Founders Panel – A Look into the Future of Fintech 

In this explorative session we delve into the emerging trends, technologies and transformative shifts that will define the way fintechs interact with traditional financial services—or perhaps bypass them completely.

Moderated by Swarup Gupta, Industry Manager, Economist Intelligence Unit

  • Zein Malhas, CEO, Blink
  • Walid Hassouna, Chief Executive and Founder, valU
  • Jad Sayegh, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Sarwa
  • Russel Cummer, Co-Founder, Executive Chairman and Group Chief Executive, Paidy

4:45 PM 

Closing Remarks

Moderated by Joshua Roberts, Capital Markets Correspondent, The Economist

October 12th

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM

Welcoming Remarks

  • Omar Shaheen, CEO, Radio Bahrain
  •  Mai Al Khatib, Radio Bahrain

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM

Panel Discussion – Women’s Fintech Transitions: Career & Entrepreneurship Journeys

This panel illuminates the inspiring narratives of women navigating the fintech realm, exploring both their career trajectories and entrepreneurial journeys. Engaging in an open dialogue, accomplished professionals will share experiences, hurdles, and successes, offering insights into fostering gender diversity and empowering women within the fintech sector. 

Moderated by Suzy Al Zeerah, Chief Operating Officer, Bahrain FinTech Bay

  • Mariam Jumaan, Board Member, Supreme Council for Women, and Chair of the Board, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority 
  • Shaikha Tareef, CFO Bahrain and ME (excl. UAE), Standard Chartered  
  • Hessa Hussain, Assistant General Manager, The BENEFIT Company 
  • Aisha Al Enzi, Co-Founder, Arsedh
This session is in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Women

9:25 AM – 9:55 AM

Panel Discussion –  Open Banking and Embedded Finance: Enabling Financial Inclusion 

In an age of financial evolution, this panel delves into the transformative potential of open banking and embedded finance in fostering financial inclusivity. Experts will discuss how these approaches reshape financial landscapes, enhance accessibility, and extend financial services to previously underserved populations.

Moderated by Dania Alshowaikh, Co-Founder, Daleel

  • Paulo Goulão, Partner | Integration & Open Banking (Global), Bring 
  • Tariq Sanad, CFO, Tarabut Gateway
  • Santiago Duro, Chief Product Officer, Fintech Galaxy  

9:55 AM – 10:30 AM

Panel Discussion –  Developing the Next Generation of Tech Talent 

At the heart of innovation lies a need to cultivate the tech talent of tomorrow. This panel explores strategies to nurture and guide aspiring individuals, shaping them into skilled professionals for the ever-evolving tech industry. Insights into educational paradigms, mentorship, and fostering diversity in tech will be at the forefront. 

Moderated by Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Business Development, Financial Services, Bahrain EDB

  • Yanal Jallad, Managing Director, Reboot Coding Institute 
  • Bruno Martins, Associate Partner IT Advisory, Technology Consulting KPMG 
  • Mohamed Al Mahroos, Partner, PWC 
  • Latifa Mohamed, General Manager, Hope Talent 

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM – 11:20 AM

Panel Discussion – Customer-Centric Insurance: Redefining the Policyholder Experience 

This panel shifts the lens towards revolutionizing the insurance industry by prioritizing the policyholder’s needs and experiences. Delving into customer-centricity, experts will discuss leveraging technology, personalization, and feedback-driven approaches to redefine and enhance the overall policyholder journey. 

Moderated by Alexander Fokin, CEO & Founder, VIEW App

  • Yousif Al Murbati, Superintendent – Takaful Firms at the Insurance Supervision Directorate, Central Bank of Bahrain
  • Ahmed Radhi, Deputy General Manager, SNIC Insurance 
  • Frederik Bisbjerg, Beyon Digital 
  • Michael Walsh, Sales Director – MEA, Democrance 

11:20 AM – 11:55 AM

Panel Discussion –  Identifying the Next Generation of Scalable Startups and Unicorns 

Venture into the domain of innovation and entrepreneurship with this panel, focused on identifying the startups with potential for exponential growth and unicorn status. Seasoned investors and entrepreneurs will shed light on recognizing promising ventures, nurturing them, and fostering an ecosystem that breeds success. 

Moderated by Josh Rodger, Investor, Spring Studios

  • Simon Davies, Co-Founder, DXB Partners 
  • Shane Shin, Founding Partner, Shorooq Partners 
  • Alex Mahr, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Stryber 
  • Sara Asad, Investments and Community, MSA Novo

11:55 AM – 12:30 PM

Panel Discussion – Achieving Compliance Mastery through RegTech Implementation 

Compliance in the financial sector is ever-evolving, and technology offers a pathway to mastery. This panel explores the integration of Regulatory Technology (RegTech) to streamline compliance processes. Experts will discuss leveraging technology for efficiency, risk reduction, and mastering compliance in a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. 

Moderated by Yiannos Ashiotis, Managing Director, GRC Partners

  • Mohammed Issa, Regional Manager | Middle East, Chainalysis 
  • Yasmeen Al Sharaf, Director of Fintech and Innovation Unit, Central Bank of Bahrain 
  • Tony Petrov, Chief Legal Officer, SumSub 

12:30 PM – 12:55 PM

Networking Break

12:55 PM – 1:30 PM

Panel Discussion – The Future of Digital Payments

The digital payment landscape is rapidly evolving, disrupting traditional financial paradigms. This panel peers into the future, discussing how technology is reshaping the way we transact. Experts will analyze advancements, security measures, and the changing preferences of consumers, offering a glimpse into the exciting future of digital payments.

Moderated by Chris Purdie, CEO, Receiptable

  • Mohamed Ateeq, General Manager, Rain Management
  • Fawaz Ghazal, CEO, Flooss
  • David Liversidge, Director, Global Growth – Financial Services, Salesforce

1:30 PM – 1:40 PM

Closing Remarks 

1:40 PM – 2:40 PM